Now, to tell you what I think about evangelism.
I believe that there are a lot of well-meaning people trying to help Christians overcome their fear of sharing the gospel. They package a great "method" of sharing in order to help the most believers get the "Word Out There" about Jesus. However, the facts are the facts, and these "canned" methods just don't work. They are just another church program. They may bring a few along, lead a few to faith, and the like, but their intended mass evangelism simply doesn't happen.
I also believe that Christians make a lot of excuses regarding their efforts to share the gospel. I've heard many of them over the years, too. "I don't have the gift of evangelism." "I don't feel 'led' to share the gospel." "The situation just wasn't right." And many others. I believe that too many Christians are letting fear lead them, not faith. These believers (if they truly ARE believers) are disobedient. This means the answer for them is not training, it's repentance.
I've also heard sermons on the subject, and seen it preached with grace and with guilt. I've even preached them. I don't mean to guilt anyone, but I've probably done so. Shame rarely motivates. (I've noticed that within myself as well as others.) But in the process, one thing I've noticed: those who genuinely believe the gospel are moved to share it at all costs. They believe to the core of their being that apart from Christ, there is no hope of heaven. They believe to the center of their lives that without Christ, Hell is their destination. They trust God's Word which says that. Their lives are lived on that premise.
And so, sometimes, believers can be overwhelming in their gospel presentations. They can push so hard, wanting to hear their message received (as evidenced by a "profession of faith"), that they get their hearers to "say yes" to Jesus just to shut them up. Or they gravitate to the vulnerable - the young, the weak of mind, or the overly trusting person - and convince them to "say yes" to Jesus. These things result in a false profession of faith.
And, yes, I believe that there are too many who have falsely believed in their salvation. I'm talking about those who have professed with their mouth the Lord, but not believed in their heart. They believe He died for humanity, but not for themselves. They believe that He rose again, but not that THEY will one day face Him. They love the idea that when their "time" comes, they will go to heaven; but they don't love the idea that their lives should be lived any differently because they are "saved."
I've also heard people say that our lifestyle should be our strongest evangelism tool. Some take this so far that they think we should live so "Christian" that we never have to even explain out loud to anyone how or why Jesus died and rose again. Some don't even think the name of Jesus is necessary. This is a lie from the pit of hell, meant to disarm the Church (Christians), rendering them ineffective in God's plan on earth. Lifestyle evangelism is empty without telling the message.
And that means that telling the message is meaningless without a lifestyle that backs it up. I mean, if you truly believe it, you'll live it. And when you tell it AND live it, your message has power. Sales people will tell you that at every training event. But we're not selling anything. We're trying to persuade people of the truth. If we'er not persuaded ourselves that the gospel is true, we will quit, fudge, or get real quiet all together.
I also believe that there are those who are spiritually gifted "evangelists." The church should be thankful for this - but Christians should not relegate to the "evangelist" the job of sharing the gospel. It is an individual mandate from God, Himself, to each believer; not just to the "evangelist."
The Bible indicates that when the gospel is told to a person in whom the Lord's Spirit is working, that message will bring repentance and transformation in their lives. They will flee sin, love righteousness, and want more intimate fellowship with the Living Lord. Their lives will change. It begins in a single moment, but continues for a lifetime. Evangelism is a cooperation between the Christian and Christ to lead the Lost to Salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. If the Christian doesn't share, the Lost won't hear. If the Lost isn't under the work of the Holy Spirit, he/she won't understand fully and truly be saved. Too many false professions come from this - the Lord wasn't doing the work with the evangelist; only the evangelist was doing so. The message hit home in the head, but never sank to the heart. Sinking it to the heart is the Lord's job.
So, now you have what I believe about evangelism. WHAT DO YOU THINK? Feel free to comment - especially if you disagree! All I ask is that your comments be respectful, and free of vulgarity. No need for that here. Thanks. I look forward to hearing from you.